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Cheap Craps Guide
Part Three
(Read Part I or Part II)

Let’s continue our journey of discovery, enlightenment and Precision-Shooting profit on some more bargain-priced $2 tables.


Way down south on the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip, past Mandalay Bay, past famous the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, past the Belz Factory Outlet Mall, is the Silverton Hotel-Casino.

It’s not big (with 300 rooms), it’s not exciting (the tables are rarely full), and it not lavish (it has a mining-town theme left over from when it was called “Boomtown”), but the craps are offered at $1 or generally $2, and that is just fine with me!

They do use some foam pads under the felt-layouts that sometimes reach the thickness of high-school wrestling mats, so you have to carefully gauge your trajectory on these babies.  Once you dial them in, these tables can provide tremendous profit-potential, and because of the low table-population, you should have a substantial number of rarely interrupted shooting-opportunities.

Wild Wild West

You will find a full and complete discussion about this casino in my Mad Professor's Mini Tub Tour - Part IV article.  It’s a $2 mini-tub that deserves a close look, if that size of table suits your current throwing technique.

Gold Coast

All over this fine country there are tables that have a nice, relaxed neutral dice-reaction to them.  There are also a bunch of gaming-houses that offer cheap $1, $2, or $3 craps-tables.  Now, if you are lucky enough to find a casino that offers superb tables AND great low-cost table-limits; then you have the best of both worlds.

Low-cost tables permit you to have a lot of betting-method latitude when your Precision-Shooting skills are on the rise, but still lack the sure-thing profit that professional full-time play usually brings.  This concept is discussed further in my Matching Bets to Your Shooting Ability article. 

It is at tables like this that you can perfect your craft BEFORE tackling higher-limit (and hopefully more sparsely-populated) tables.  Cheap tables validate your at-home practice in a real world gaming-environment without unduly stressing your bankroll.

I have a soft spot in my otherwise cold, black heart for the Gold Coast Hotel.  In the past 12 years, I have spent well over 1500-hours at these particular tables.  That’s a lot of time, and I’ve managed to pull out obscene amounts of cumulative net-profit every single year that I’ve played them.  What is even more important is that these tables are EXACTLY the same in performance as some similar-length tables that you will find at a few more famous up-market (read: higher-minimum bet) LV-Strip casinos.

By that I mean that the dice take exactly the same hops and bounces, and the same bite, stick and roll characteristics that are found on similar-length layouts at, of all places, Bellagio, MGM Grand and Treasure Island. 

In that way, I guess you could say that the Gold Coast tables are the quintessential low-buck version on which to perfect your high-buck craft.  

Because of their low $2 shooting-cost, the GC tables allow you to perfect your Precision-Shooting skills in a budget-priced real-world environment BEFORE you move up to the more expensive, but similar-performance tables at Bellagio, MGM Grand and Treasure Island. 

The Coast Casino policy of only offering 2x-Odds on their four tables shouldn’t make a difference in choosing whether or not to play here, especially if you get into a smooth shooting-groove. 

Think about it this way. 

I would rather have consistent 15 to 40-roll hands on a 2x-Odds table, than suffer endless quick 7-Outs on a 10x-Odds table.

Boulder Station

While it isn’t the oldest of the casinos in the Station family, it does show its age more than most of the others.  While it has never had the tourist-business of it’s sister property, Palace Station, or the laid-back uniqueness of Sunset Station, or the cache of it’s newest sibling, Green Valley Resort;  Boulder Station does have a loyal, frequent clientele, and that is especially true for its craps players.

The dealers know 80% of the players by their first names.   They also know most of the usual betting moves for their frequent local visitors as well.  It’s kind of funny to see dealers making all sorts of press, regression and parlay moves for most of their players with hardly any verbal confirmation.  What is even more amazing is the lack of payout disputes that you would expect from such an apparent mind-reading sort of bet-booking method. 

It’s pleasantly surprising that the players here are generally good-natured, with a fair amount of trust and assumed compliance amongst the players and dealers.  If the odd dispute breaks out, the box-man resolves it quickly, and then admonishes the player to make his intentions perfectly clear to the dealer or ALL of his future action will be “no betted” (sic). 

This is the kind of tacit understanding that makes the game here somewhat more social than you’ll usually find at the larger mega-casinos on the Strip.  

All the local players seem to know each other by name, like members of a coffee-klatch that meets everyday to share gossip and feed the pigeons in a local park.  The craps tables at Boulder Station are the male-equivalent of a beauty-salon gossip-circle.  It makes for an entertaining time, even if the dice aren’t doing anything notable in the interim. 

You’ll find five tables set at $2 for most of the 24-hour clock.   With 10x-Odds, it makes for great Precision-Shooting opportunities once the Social Security-set return to suburbia from 5 pm to 7 pm.   In addition, after-hours play from 2 am to 7 am offers up plenty of open space to use your Precision-Shooting skills.

Arizona Charlies-Boulder

This is the newer of the two AZ Charlies that are in the Carl Ichan stable of properties (the former TWA corporate-raider also owns AZ Charlies-Decatur as well as The Stratosphere Tower).  Their Players Card database is now shared between the three properties, so your comps are cumulative.

The problem here is that their one craps table may not be open when you show up to play.  They have a tendency to open it around 11 am and close it down around 2 am.  If business warrants it, they may relent and keep it open ‘till around 4 am, but slow winter mid-week periods may see it open around 1 pm and closed again near midnight. 

If you are betting their $2 minimum, then you are currently restricted to 2x-Odds.  If your bet moves up to the $5 range, then that permits a more generous 10x-Odds allowance.

Arizona Charlies-Decatur

This is the original AZ-joint in town.  You will find many, many craps-dealers from other casinos who frequent the dice tables here.  Comps are free-flowing, as are the drinks.  It isn’t unusual to be playing beside a dealer that just dealt to you at one of the posher LV-Strip hotels.  It also isn’t unusual to see inebriated off-shift dealers from other joints throwing their money around like…well, drunken dealers. 

Their two tables are okay for Precision-Shooting, but they are nothing special.  You won’t face any heat or interference for your skills at Charlies-West as this place is known, and the table-staff is good and quite accommodating.  I’ve never seen them sweat the money, even when a player gets on a parlay-it-to-the-moon searing-hot hand.

At $2 and 5x-Odds, the tables here stay open longer and are generally busier than its Boulder Highway sibling.

Mahoney’s Silver Nugget

Not to be confused with Jerry’s Nugget which we covered in “Part One” of this article, Mahoney’s is nowhere near any path that a typical tourist would likely find themselves on unless they were dangerously lost. 

The only thing that this non-hotel casino has in common with the big-boys is that they offer “Strip Odds” (3x, 4x & 5x-Odds).  However, you won’t find any of the high-end accoutrements normally associated with LV mega-palaces.

You’ll find one long table set at the $2 mark.  I haven’t ever run into any heat for my style of rolling, and I’ve never seen them sweat any profit that I’ve pulled off of their tables.  On the other hand, I’ve been fairly careful about keeping my winnings under the $300 per session mark.  Anything over that would probably bring way too much attention.  I only play on this table about twice each week when I am in Vegasville.  That way, I don’t wear out my welcome, and I can continue to use their tables to make decent, but not greedy cash-withdrawals.

Gaughan’s Plaza

Forget about what this place may smell like.  Forget that the same “Sunspots” act in the Omaha Lounge has been playing there for 22 years.   Forget that one of the box-men is a real-life, real-size Jabba the Hut with an acerbic and bitter personality to match.  Forget that their Pound ‘o Pig breakfast special has more cholesterol than a truckload of Big Mac’s.  What I want you to remember is the great dice-shooting opportunities that you will find on the four $2 tables at the Plaza Hotel-Casino.

These are some of the busiest Downtown tables, but the wait for the dice to cycle around to your location can also be some of the most rewarding.  With very few exceptions, my patience in waiting for the dice has been rewarded by long and profitable rolls.  They DO NOT sweat the money at all, however some of their Pit Dwellers obviously failed miserably when they took their “How to Win Friends and Influence People” course from Dale Carnegie. 

The swing-shift has a collective case of permanent and raging PMS amongst themselves.  Their infighting shouldn’t affect you in the least.  On the contrary, it’s slightly amusing to see fist-fights break out between dealers, box-men and Pit Bosses alike. 

The only negative effect that it may have on your actual play is that they can sometimes be tardy in keeping your comp-rating card current.  Other than that, enjoy the verbal antics that sometimes explode into a full-blown floor-show free-for-all scrap amongst the staff.  This is the gaming-version of the Osbournes.

The 10x-Odds offered on their straight-rolling tables should be sufficient to satisfy your Precision-Shooting needs.   Mid-week, early morning play generally brings the quietest time to shoot the dice.

The Plaza tables don't have a lot of bounce, so a lower trajectory throw (less than 45 degrees, down to 25 or 30 degrees) works best.  Expect them to get busy anytime after 11 am.  If you need a comp, just ask.

Of all the Downtown casinos, I have found that you can find a hot table here most consistently.  Now that may only seem like a coincidence, but after taking out the skewing-effect of my own hot hands, I have found that The Plaza has the highest “open tables-to-hot hands” ratio.  This is TOTALLY UN-scientific, and is merely based on my own observations over the past twenty years or so (I’ve carefully logged them over the past 12 years), and it is an interesting finding nonetheless.

As most of you know, Barrick Gaming has recently acquired this casino along with Gold Spike, Western Hotel-Casino, and the Las Vegas Club from Plaza-founder Jackie Gaughan.  I don’t see this acquisition as having any negative-effect on the gaming part of profitable Precision-Shooting in the near-term.   

In “Part Four” we’ll cover even more $2 tables.  Until then,

Good Luck & Good Skill at those cheap tables…and in Life.


The Mad Professor

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